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Teens Self-Medicate With Cannabis

Teens Self-Medicate With Cannabis When legal therapies let them down, some teens apparently turn to cannabis.

A new study, published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Substance Abuse, Treatment, Prevention and Policy suggests that around a third of teens who smoke cannabis on a regular basis use it as a medication, rather than as a means of getting high.

Joan Bottorff worked with a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia to conduct in-depth interviews with 63 cannabis-using adolescents. Of these, 20 claimed that they used cannabis to relieve or manage health problems.

Bottorff said, “Marijuana is perceived by some teens to be the only available alternative for those experiencing difficult health problems when legitimate medical treatments have failed or when they lack access to appropriate health care.”

The most common complaints recorded were emotional problems (including depression, anxiety and stress), sleep difficulties, problems with concentration and physical pain.

The teens’ experiences with the medical system were uniformly negative.

The authors said, “Youth who reported they had been prescribed drugs such as Ritalin, Prozac or sleeping pills, stopped using them because they did not like how these drugs made them feel or found them ineffective. For these kids, the purpose of smoking marijuana was not specifically about getting high or stoned.”

The authors emphasize that the unmet medical needs of these teens are of key importance in these findings. In contrast to the unpleasant side effects of prescribed medications and long, ineffective legal therapies, cannabis provided these adolescents with immediate relief for a variety of health concerns.

Of course, cannabis isn’t completely harmless, but as one of the respondents noted, “It’s not good for you, but then again, neither is McDonald’s and a lot of other things.”

Source: BioMed Central

Teens Self-Medicate With Cannabis

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Teens Self-Medicate With Cannabis. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/04/24/teens-self-medicate-with-cannabis/5512.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.